Attempted rape case for five GCHS students sealed
The records requested by Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum concerning “any and all information regarding the investigation of incidents of hazing, assault, and/or sexual assault related to Grundy County students in the last five years” have not been turned over to the sheriff by the school system. The subpoena for the records was issued on October 25, 2017, after the report of an attempted aggravated rape of a student at Grundy County High School by five of his football teammates. At the time, Sheriff Shrum stated that his request for the records was a “fact-finding attempt to confirm or disavow” rumors circulating that the school system has a history of hazing and sexual abuse.
When the records were not turned over by the 30-day deadline, Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey explained that the search had not yielded anything new – anything that had not previously reported.
A letter of memorandum was sent to county attorney Bill Rieder by school board counsel Chuck Cagle on November 9, as to reasons why the district would not turn over records.
In the letter, Cagle states that Shrum began the process for obtaining evidence “in order to determine whether a criminal offense has been or is being committed” rather than because of an “existing belief.” In addition, it argued that student records are confidential and cannot be turned over without a specific court order or written release from a parent or guardian. However, the original request from Shrum was signed by the Court Clerk.
The letter sent by
Cagle ends with a request for the sheriff to “cease and desist from seeking any and all student records related to discipline” at the schools.
The county attorney replied to Cagle with a letter detailing Cagle’s factual inaccuracies.
“Parental consent is not required when the records are disclosed in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena,” stated the county attorney in his response letter.
Shrum says the subpoena was issued by 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor’s office for the Sheriff’s Office. The decision to withdraw, modify, or enforce it must come from Taylor’s office.
The case of the five GCHS students accused of attempted aggravated rape has been sealed by Judge Tim Brock, of Coffee County. He put a non-disclosure order on the case on November 15, when the boys were last known to have been in court.
The latest information available as to the status of the five boys accused is that they are not in regular school, but are still enrolled at GCHS. At their first court appearance in October, they were placed on house arrest and were to receive homebound education.